Olivet Nazarene University is pleased to honor alumni who exhibit the characteristics and ideals of their alma mater.
Since 1957, the Olivet Alumni Association has recognized outstanding alumni through the presentation of the "O" Awards at the annual fall Homecoming Celebration. One ministerial and one lay person have been chosen from nominations submitted to the Alumni Board. Qualified individuals represent the ideals of the University and have distinguished themselves in their professional fields.
Dr. Edward Heck '76
Dr. Edward H. Heck currently serves as
the senior pastor of Kankakee First Church of the Nazarene. Broadly experienced
in the ministry of the local church, he brings to the pulpit a heart sensitized
by nearly 35 years of pastoral ministry.
Prior to his ministry at Kankakee
First, Dr. Heck experienced great growth and spiritual vitality in each of his
pastoral assignments, including Morenci, Michigan; First Church of the
Nazarene, Flint, Michigan; Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene, Vicksburg,
Michigan; and Vandalia, Ohio.
Dr. Heck completed his undergraduate
work at Olivet Nazarene University and graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts
degree in biblical literature. Continuing his education, he graduated from
Nazarene Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in 1980. In May
2001, he received the Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological
Dr. Heck travels and speaks frequently
for the Nazarene Church. He has served on the Future of the Church Commission
for General Assembly, as well as on other boards and committees of the Global
Church of the Nazarene. Currently, he is the district secretary of the Chicago
Central District and a mission area assistant to the District Superintendent. At
Olivet, he is an adjunct professor in the School of Theology and Christian
Ministry and also teaches courses for the new interdisciplinary minor in
He and his wife of 39 years, Kathy, have one daughter, Alea, who is a junior at
Ralph Hodge '75/'96 M.A.E.
For more than 35 seasons, Ralph “Tres”
Hodge has manned the sidelines as the head coach of the Olivet men’s basketball
team. Since 1979, he has led 16 Tiger teams to national tournament
appearances, the most by any team from Illinois.
Tres is a member of the National
Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ 700-win club, one of only five other
active NAIA coaches who have reached this career achievement. His induction as
a member of the 2013-14 NAIA Hall of Fame class — along with Olivet alumnus Ben
Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays — made him the first Tiger to receive this honor. This distinction recognizes service
to intercollegiate athletics and is the highest individual honor that the NAIA
On 11 different occasions, Tres
led his team to CCAC regular season championships and to five CCAC
Tournament titles. Prior to membership in the CCAC, he and the Tigers won four
Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference (NIIC) championships and also won
four NAIA District 20 titles.
His career distinctions include:
For his achievements and success as a
Tiger basketball guard, Olivet honored him by retiring his number 20 in 1975.
Tres and his wife, Janice (Barr) ’75,
are the parents of three adult children and have one grandson, Paxton.
To watch the award presentation, click here.
To hear the recipients' testimonials, click here.
For more information about award criteria, click here.
Young Alumni Award
In 2011, the Young Alumni Award was established, honoring two alumni — one male and one female — to be presented at the annual fall Homecoming Celebration. Recipients are chosen by vote of the Alumni Board, and must have graduated from Olivet within the last 10 years. This award is made possible through a generous gift from Mel '73 and Judi (Tucker) '71 Sayes.
Katie Kalemkarian ('06)
With a vision for a career in the fashion industry, Katie
Kalemkarian graduated summa cum laude from Olivet in 2006 with a degree in
family and consumer sciences. Her major was fashion merchandising, and she also
completed minors in business management, marketing and French.
Soon after her graduation, Katie was hired by TJX Companies as
an allocation analyst and moved to Boston to work out of the corporate
headquarters in Massachusetts. This is now the parent company of TJ Maxx,
Marshalls and HomeGoods in the United States, as well as three retail chains in
Canada and two retail chains in Europe. The company now reports $27.4 billion
in annual sales and a more than 200 percent increase in the price of its
publicly traded shares.
In 2010, Katie accepted a two-year assignment as a planning
manager with TK Maxx, the European division. During that time, she lived and
worked in London.
Currently, she is a ladies dress buyer with TJX and based in
the Los Angeles satellite buying office. The company’s buying organization is
considered one of the best in the business. As a buyer for both TJ Maxx and
Marshalls, each year she purchases dresses that ship to nearly 2,000 stores
nationwide. Identified as a potential leader for her company, she is on a
leadership mentoring and training track.
In addition to her career success, Katie enjoys traveling
and has visited 22 European countries. Experiencing new cultures, foods and
people is one of her passions. As a self-described foodie and an excellent
cook, she often ministers to others by hosting dinner parties for them at her
Her passion for sports continued past her years of playing
on Olivet’s tennis team. She has enjoyed attending many professional sports
events, including Wimbledon, seven events during the Olympics and
The Royal Ascot in London; and Red Sox games in Boston.
Katie attends Pacific Crossroads Church in Santa Monica,
California, and is part of a small group there. As a servant of Christ, she once
devoted a weekend to helping build a house for a family in need in Mexico. In 2008,
she experienced a life-changing trip to Ethiopia, Africa. There, she visited
several Compassion International centers and met the Compassion child she
Despite the distance between California and Illinois, her
home state, Katie stays in close touch with her family. She especially enjoys
spending time with her two nephews during her visits home.
Scott Karalis ('08)
Beginning his academic career at Olivet, Scott Karalis
graduated magna cum laude in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in corporate
communication and wa the recipient of the communication department’s Honor
Award. In 2007, he spent his junior year abroad studying jurisprudence and
Aristotle as a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford.
Focusing on his career goal of practicing law, Scott graduated
with distinction in 2011 from the University of Iowa College of Law, a school
consistently ranked in the top 30 law schools in the nation. While in law
school, he was executive editor of The
Journal of Corporation Law, which is ranked third in the nation for
corporate law journals.
While in law school, Scott received Dean’s Awards for the
highest grades in jurisprudence and in legal analysis, writing and research. He
was one of the top 32 moot court advocates invited to compete in the advanced
Van Oosterhout-Baskerville Moot Court Competition, in which he also received
the Best Brief and Best Oral Advocate Awards. In 2011, he was honored to be one
of four law students chosen to showcase oral advocacy in a mock case before the
Iowa Supreme Court justices, as well as a crowd of law students and faculty, as
the headline event of Iowa Law’s annual Supreme Court Day.
Today, Scott is an associate at the Chicago firm of
BatesCarey LLP, one of the largest firms in the country focused exclusively on
representing and protecting the interests of insurers and reinsurers. His practice
focuses on directors and officers and corporate liability coverage for
mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies. He has served as counsel with respect to
complex insurance claims, such as securities fraud class action lawsuits,
regulatory investigation and proceedings, and employment-related litigation.
A diehard video and tabletop gamer, Scott recently attended
the four-day PAX gaming convention in Seattle — along with 70,000 other
devotees. He loves to read for pleasure and recommends The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Neuromancer and Ender’s Game.
Scott and his wife, Brittany (Dahl) ’08, reside in Palatine,
Illinois. She teaches Spanish at Wauconda High School. They are expecting their
first child in December.